Southern mystery writer Carolyn Haines shares some of her insights on the writing process and what keeps her writing.
Q: What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?
A: The best method is to work every day. That way I "own" the material. If days lapse, I lose that connection and ownership of the story. The second trick is to write two things at once. I often write my "darker" stories in the morning and my more humorous stories in the afternoon. That way, I can end the day making progress on something. I am very goal driven, and this works for me. I also know, if I get stuck for longer than a day, that I've made a plot or structure mistake and so I must go all the way back to the beginning and start editing again until I find it and fix it.
Q: What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?
A: I operate an animal rescue, and most of the cost comes from my own pocket. So I look out the window and see the horses that need food and a farrier and I think "get up and get busy." I do find it helpful to stop writing in the middle of a scene. That way, when I start the next day, I have a solid path under me. I can finish that scene, which often stimulates my brain to think of the next scene.
Q: What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?
A: If you do not love writing more than anything else, stop now. (I was about 32 at the time.) If you can stop, then just stop. But if you can't, then understand your life will never be easy, but following your passion is more important than an easy life. That's a paraphrase, but it was shared by my wonderful friend, Eugene Walter. He believed in me when I was a young writer. Really when no one else did. That meant a lot to me.
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> Bones of a Feather: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery